Africa Connections Info

Dave and I have mixed feelings about missions trips.

That’s a weird statement considering we just got back from leading one.

On one hand, you spend a LOT of money to get there that could be used instead either by the organizations you work with or by full-time missionaries. Sometimes missions teams go in with the idea that they’re coming in to save the day (not exactly a Philippians 2 attitude).

But on the other hand, often the money spent to go on the trip is like an initial investment. It opens up the team members’ eyes and hearts–as well as the hearts and eyes of their friends and family members–to needs and Gospel opportunities they had no idea of before so that future support gets funneled in directions it would not have otherwise. Mission team members find that they are “mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by … (the) faith” of the people they meet. (Romans 1:12)

My hope is that those of you who have read my blog have, in a sense, traveled with us and been impacted just as we have. Some readers have already asked me about ways to contribute to some of the ministries we worked with, so what I want to do in this post is provide links to all of the different organizations we worked with while we were in Kenya and Uganda. You can learn more about these organizations and donate to them at the website links provided. I’ve also included the link to the specific blog post I wrote about our experience at each organization.

1. Kibera Girls SoccerAcademy:

http://www.kiberagirlssocceracademy.org/

This is a FREE secondary school in the heart of the Kibera Slum (the second largest slum in the world) that provides girls with a quality education so they can continue on beyond secondary school to universities and colleges. Great program.

Blog link: https://jenunderwood.org/2013/07/11/day-3-in-africa-a-gift-of-a-day/

2. Springs of Hope Orphanage run by Kenyan Mary Musyoka:

http://www.entertheventure.com/

Venture Corps is a U.S.-based non-profit that advocates for several non-profits run by Kenyan and Ugandan nationals. You can find more info on Springs of Hope on Venture Corps website and donate specifically to it or to the Venture Corps general fund.

Blog link: https://jenunderwood.org/2013/07/10/meet-mary-day-2-in-africa/

3. Mercy Childcare run by Ugandan Wilfred Rugumba:

http://www.mercychildcare.org/

Mercy is dear, dear, dear to my heart. Our son, Patrick, is from Mercy, and I lived with Wilfred and his wife, Vena, for five weeks during our adoption process. Almost all the ministry we did in Uganda was through Mercy and its founding church, Light the World Church in Kampala, Uganda.

Blog links:

https://jenunderwood.org/2013/07/15/seeing-ugandans-light-the-world-day-1-in-uganda/

https://jenunderwood.org/2013/07/16/beauty-from-the-awful-day-3-in-uganda/

https://jenunderwood.org/2013/07/22/final-days-in-uganda/

4. UAPO (Ugandan American Partnership Organization) (In Uganda, known as the Akola Project):

http://www.theuapo.org/ (this site has information about the UAPO)

http://akolaproject.org/ (this is the UAPO’s shopping site–beautiful jewelry and very soon, some amazing woven bags)

Blog link:

https://jenunderwood.org/2013/07/19/our-gifts-gods-purpose/

 

 

 

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Day 3 in Africa: a gift of a day

All the girls joined together for a dance/singing game.

All the girls joined together for a dance/singing game.

I wish I could recognize every day as pure gift. I am grateful that today I was able to see God’s fingerprints all over its events. We began the day walking into Kibera, a slum 1 1/2 miles square inside Nairobi, like Central Park in NYC (they’re actually about the same size–Kibera and Central Park). It’s filled with somewhere between 400,000 to a million people (I know, big range, but I imagine it’s pretty difficult to take a census in a place like Kibera.

A snapshot of a small portion of Kibera

A snapshot of a small portion of Kibera

It’s hard to describe Kibera. I’ll post some pics of it, but I don’t particularly like just snapping off photos like I’m in a zoo. So I don’t have pictures of the sewage running in a ditch alongside and sometimes across the footpath or of the huge piles of trash that children search through, hoping to find something to sell to provide their families with food.

We had a few scraped knees and elbows, but amazingly no big injuries (either team) playing on KIbera's slanted dirt-and-rocks field.

We had a few scraped knees and elbows, but amazingly no big injuries (either team) playing on KIbera’s slanted dirt-and-rocks field.

Anyway, we walked to the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. We got a tour (I remembered much from when we were there three years before.) Then our girls went into a class with their students. Oh, the sounds coming from that classroom. Singing (Justin Bieber has evidently captured an international audience), dancing, chatter so loud we could hear it all the way across the courtyard. After the girls ate some lunch, they all (our girls, too) gathered in a circle in the courtyard and did dancing/singing games with each other (like “Little Sally Walker” and several other African equivalents). For some of the shyer girls, I could use some of the pictures I took for blackmail! They had so, so much fun. We walked around Kibera a bit more and then headed off to the soccer field. Fun game; the KGSA team finally won in overtime.

He knows the numbers of hairs on every one of their heads. I keep asking God to remind me of this.

He knows the numbers of hairs on every one of their heads. I keep asking God to remind me of this.

Then the boys U14 team asked to play, so the girls played some more. We had an entire fan group of little girls and boys, and the girls spent their off-the-field breaks playing with them.

Clapping games on the sidelines

Clapping games on the sidelines

On the way home we made a surprise stop. Wanee (I have GOT to learn how to spell his name) introduced us to his “uncle and aunt”- relatives of his mother who cared for him after his mother died. Turns out the “uncle” was on the IOC (International Olympic Committee. He had pictures of himself with Hilary Clinton and–oh, my word–Nelson Mandela! Such a privilege to meet this man and listen to his wife tell us about their life. She just exuded faith and was a great blessing to us.

The team with Wanee's auntie.

The team with Wanee’s auntie.

Then it was back to the guesthouse for a quick shower (boy, were we gritty!) and then to Assistant Coach Lauren’s aunt and uncle’s house (they are missionaries in the Niarobi).

the girls gathered outside of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy

the girls gathered outside of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy

They fed us with love, care, and lasagna, and we got to hang out with them and hear stories of their 40 years living and working in Kenya.

The team with Lauren's aunt and uncle.

The team with Lauren’s aunt and uncle.

What an absolute gift of a day!